The 38th annual Night Out event, held at Fort Greene Park, is aimed at improving the relationship between cops and the community, fostering an anti-crime attitude in the neighborhood and raising awareness of anti-crime programs. Other police precincts across the city and the country held these events yesterday, sending a message of community solidarity against crime.
“It’s a great day to have the community and the police department get together as one,” said Delia Hunley-Adossa, the president of the 88th Precinct Community Council, which organized the event. “The interaction is awesome. We want to keep the community and the streets safe.”
The event was held in the afternoon and early evening this year – from 1 to 7 p.m. – to accommodate children’s summer camps, according to Varlos Brathwaite, a community affairs officer at the precinct. In many other precincts, Night Out festivities began in the evening.
Local summer camp children arrived in droves and got involved in several activities: Jumping and climbing in a bouncy house, navigating an obstacle course, getting their faces painted and listening to storytelling.
“It’s great,” said Cassidy Kirch, a counselor at the SCO Family of Services camp in Bedford-Stuyvesant, as the kids lined up for the bouncy house. “They’re having a lot of fun. They’re super excited.”
“The event is nice because it’s run by the precinct,” added Rosa Morales, a parent volunteer at the Bright Star Prep Summer Camp, run out of P.S. 270 on Emerson Place between Willoughby and DeKalb Avenues. “They look out for the community.”
Brian McCullock, a counselor at the Fort Greene Council, Inc.’s summer camp, called the night out an “awesome” event that he wishes was held more than once a year in the community, possibly once each season.
While kids enjoyed the festivities, adults bought clothes and jewelry from local vendors, and stopped by tables providing information ranging from green energy to health insurance to crime prevention.
Cops served hot dogs, doughnuts and other snacks to locals in attendance. One of the officers, Auxiliary Deputy Inspector Barbara Allicott, said that some locals stopped her and her colleagues to ask about their ranks in the police department and whether they like their jobs. She said the event, which took about six months of planning, is important because it reminds locals that although police officers are law enforcers, they are ordinary people who want to do their job by keeping the community safe.
“We let the children know they don’t have to be in fear of the police,” Allicott said. “It’s not about putting cuffs on people, chasing them down the street, and not about arrests. We protect them and we’re there for them.”